In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, we give thanks that President Obama finally has kept his promise to address our broken immigration system. The President’s announcement includes a general overview of individuals likely to benefit:
• About 4.1 million of those expected to be eligible for the program are parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident (LPR) children, regardless of age or marital status of the child, who have resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. They are required to undergo background checks and pay taxes. The application process will begin in about 180 days.
• Another 300,000 are individuals who were brought to the United States as children and have been raised as Americans but were too old to qualify for the 2011 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program announced today removes the upper age limit for DACA eligibility and updates the required date of continuous residence to January 1, 2010. The application process will begin in about 90 days.
• Individuals will be allowed to apply for three-year work permits, temporary protection from deportation, and advanced permission to travel abroad.
We also are excited to hear that the Secure Communities program will be ending! S-Comm is a program in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requests that local law enforcement agencies unconstitutionally hold individuals so the agency can decide whether to initiate removal proceedings.
We lament the administration’s failure to address the continuing detention of the over 34,000 people in U.S. immigration detention each day. We lament the administration’s failure to address the expansion of family immigration detention. We lament the administration failure to address programs at the border, such as Operation Streamline, which charge and convict Mexican and Central American men and women each day and send them to private for-profit prisons to serve out a federal sentence for crossing the border before being put into civil immigration detention.